The sellout crowd of 20,066 at Joe Louis Arena opened up their hearts and wallets on Thursday night prior to Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against Chicago to support the family of fallen Westland firefighter Brian Woehlke, who passed away while battling a Westland fire on May 8.
Representatives from the Dearborn Fire Department, wearing their Class A uniforms and holding out their boots, collected $11,529 in donations from fans as they entered the arena. Captain Henrik Zetterberg also contributed $3,500 to bring the total raised on Thursday to $15,029. In addition, the team had two fans pledge to send a $1,000 check apiece to the Westland Fire Fighters Charity.
All funds collected were donated to the Westland Fire Fighters Charity’s fund for the family. He leaves behind his wife Jennifer and his 13-month-old daughter Ava.
Fans who could not attend the game, but would like to support the cause can send a monetary donation to the Westland Fire Fighters Charity, P.O. Box 851320, Westland, Mich., 48185, or at any of the five Wayne-Westland fire stations. Donations can also be made online by visiting www.local1279.org.
The fire quickly spread, destroying the Electric Stick pool hall and Marvaso's Italian Grill. Woehlke, 29, went missing in the fire after a mayday call was heard.
His body was later found in the debris. Woehlke is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and 13-month-old daughter, Ava.